Four years ago today I woke, knowing my babe hadn’t moved the night before. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I knew something was wrong but I prayed that I was overthinking and overreacting.
I headed up to the hospital, I had phoned them and told them that I hadn’t felt the baby move. I was greeted by a petite brown woman named Indy. She walked me into a room that had three large arm chairs and gently offered me a seat and a bottle of water.
She grabbed the Doppler and gel and I presented my belly. Being only 26 weeks it had just started to be obvious that I was pregnant, not just suffering from a large lunch.
Indy was swirling the Doppler around on my belly, every moment felt like forever and after what seemed like an eternity she said “I’m going to call the obstetrician in and we will do a bedside ultrasound in another room”
My husband and I were taken into another room, I had already started sobbing.
The obstetrician was quick, she arrived with a smile on her face. She held my hand as she explained what she was going to do and Indy stood beside her.
I lifted my shirt again and closed my eyes.
“Natalie, I’m so sorry my dear, there is no heartbeat”
I let out a noise, I’m not even sure it was human and the next thing Indy was cuddling me and saying “it’s ok. You can do this, we can do it together”
After whaling and crying for what seemed like hours, Indy sat in front of me and told me my options. I opted to head straight to the birth suit and start the induction process.
After I settled in my mother and sister arrived. We all sat together and sobbed. There wasn’t anything else to do. My husband went home and collected my things.
The anaesthetist hobbled in on crutches, he had broken his leg skiing. He sat beside me and offered all different forms of pain relief to use over the next how ever long it takes.
I opted for a fentanyl PCA (patient controlled analgesia)
The induction took two days to work, in that time I slept, I developed an infection so antibiotics were given.
At about 1:30am on Monday the 24th i woke in severe pain, the contractions came hard and fast. I pressed that PCA like crazy. (It locks you out for 5 mins so you can’t overdose)
I called for the midwife and by the time she set up and flicked the lights on it was time to push.
At 2:10am my perfect little girl, Grace Isabelle, entered the world still cocooned in her amniotic sack.
I couldn’t bring myself to look at her, so I had a nap for two hours.
After waking I asked my husband to bring her over so I could see her. She was perfect. So tiny but so perfect. She was 732 grams and 33cms long. With long piano fingers and you could see her eyebrows already growing in. Her wisps of Brown hair had started to grow and these days I imagine what it would be like brushing her hair, was it going to be curly like mine or straight like her dads.
We spent the day with her, telling her stories about her big sister and telling her how much we love her.
My best friend came around and we picked out her outfit, the only outfit she would ever wear. A little white dress with a white beanie and booties.
My husbands best friend and his wife came up and we all stood in a circle while a priest came and baptised her.
Heartfelt came and took some photos. I will treasure them forever.
Indy had been with me every moment she could. She took clay impressions for me and another midwife took photos of Grace with a little pink teddy.
At 5pm I told Indy that I was ready and Grace could be taken away for her autopsy (I requested it)
I was handed a box full of keepsakes and told I didn’t have to rush out. But I wanted out of the hospital. I wanted my bed and for this nightmare to be over.
I remember standing in the elevator, clutching the box that contained my keepsakes and a woman standing beside me and rubbing her very pregnant belly. I hated that woman. Never had seen her or saw her again but I hated her in that moment.
Four years on and I still get days that it catches me. I’m finding myself back in that first stages of grief.
– Written by Natalie Vega-Schluter, Grace’s Mum on the 22nd of March 2018 –